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Monsterrat open for business after collapse of lava dome

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Brades, Monsterrat May 26: The Caribbean island of Montserrat remains open for business and the islands services are fully functioning following the collapse of the lava dome at the Soufrière Hills Volcano last Saturday.

 The main adverse impact on the population from this collapse was the heavy ash fall in the Isle Bay, Woodlands, Old Towne and Olveston areas. However the inhabitants in the very north of the island such as St. Peters, Cudjoe Head, Baker Hill, Brades, Little Bay, St. Johns and Lookout were largely unaffected. These areas remain lush and green and ash free.

Damage from the dome collapse was very localized and the population remains safe. Areas that are affected by ash falls are being cleaned up, schools are open and government and commercial services are operating normally. Water, telephone and electricity provision have also continued to operate normally, although residents are being asked to restrict their use of water for the next week while repairs are done to the water pipes at Killicrankie. General Elections slated for Wednesday May 31

 will be going ahead as planned. In fact many politicians are putting campaigning aside to personally assist with clean up efforts in the affected areas."
The tourism sector, which is one of the main contributors to the economy, has also been largely unaffected. Montserrat’s airport at Gerald’s in the north has been in continuous operation since the dome collapse and flights continue to operate as scheduled. The Port at Little Bay was also unaffected by Saturday’s event and cargo ships and yachts have been able to call without interruption. Clean up efforts at the Vue Pointe Hotel, which endured heavy ash falls is almost completed and the hotel will be full open by Friday May 26th, 2006. Villa rental agencies and guesthouses are honouring all reservations and some of their guests have actually gotten involved in the clean up exercise.
"We would like to reassure the international world that we in Montserrat are alive and well and are open for business," comments the Montserrat Tourist Board’s Director of Tourism, Ms. Ernestine Cassell. "Montserrat remains open for visitors and is still safe to visit and all tourism events and festivals planned for the next coming months will go ahead as planned. Persons coming to visit soon should not cancel their plans. We are also encouraging potential visitors to pay us a visit to marvel at the majestic Soufriere Hills Volcano and the attractions that its destructive force has created. This is indeed our greatest tourism attraction."

The Soufrière Hills Volcano became active in 1995. Increased activity in 1997 led to the establishment of an exclusion zone around the volcano, which includes the capital city Plymouth. All residents now live in the northernmost third of the island, which has been declared a safe zone. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory ( confirmed that the lava dome collapsed over a three-hour period early on Saturday morning, leading to mud flows around the volcano and surges along the north-east flank. Following a helicopter flight, the MVO reported that nearly all the dome is gone and currently there is low-level activity.

Montserrat, a lush green and mountainous island of approximately 39 square miles, lies in the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands. Known fondly as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, this pear shaped island is a traveler’s paradise for nature lovers, divers, adventurers, family and villa vacationers, and honeymooners. This British overseas territory boasts the spectacular Soufrière Hills Volcano, a modern day Pompeii in the form of its buried former capital city Plymouth, alongside lush, green mountains, world class nature trails, deserted dark sand beaches, untouched reefs and a quiet friendly charm reminiscent of the way the Caribbean used to be.

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